Category Archives: Game of Thrones

game of thrones recapping: the ghost of harrenhal

Previously on Game of Thrones: The Garden of Bones

Renly Baratheon is out of the running for the Westeros crown after a shadow creature appears in his tent and kills him. Bummer. In the Game of Thrones, this seems a bit like cheating, but no one has time to complain. Catelyn and Brienne, who were in Renly’s tent when the magical voodoo assassin showed up, are blamed for the king’s death, but they both escape. And while all of Renly’s former bannermen join Stannis, the Tyrell siblings throw their lot in with Petyr and, I assume, Joffrey the Demented Boy King (first of his name).

Across the Narrow Sea, Dany gets one gigantic step closer to finally returning to Westeros. Xaro Xhoan Daxos offers her all the ships, horses, and soldiers she needs to conquer the Seven Kingdoms as long as she marries him. Hooray! The girl queen gets to return and smash the Westeros “boys’ club” to smithereens with her dragons and foreign armies. Oh, just kidding. Dany’s advisor Jorah wants her to reject the offer so that they can just return to Westeros on one dinky ship. This idiotic plan has nothing to do with the fact that Jorah is in love with her. Nothing at all.

Elsewhere, lots of epic action continues to dangle just over the horizon, tempting viewers. Theon abandons his father’s lame order to storm the fishermen villages in favor of a bold move to attack Torren’s Square, a city dangerously close to Winterfell. At King’s Landing, Tyrion discovers that the alchemists have been making thousands of pots of wild fire, a deadly substance capable of burning through wood, steel, and iron. Beyond the Wall, Jon volunteers to join Quorin Halfhand on an expedition to kill off the wildling scouts that lurk beyond the Fist of the First Men.

Meanwhile at Harrenhal, Arya finds an unexpected ally in Jaqen, the man whose life she saved a few episodes back when all of them were first captured. Jaqen now works for the Lannisters, but he has not forgetton what Arya did for him. Citing the religious teachings of the Red God, he claims that only death can pay for life and that he now owes Arya three deaths. Arya is understandably skeptical, but she does propose that if anyone should be killed, it should be the Tickler (famous for his rat/bucket/fire torture techniques). A short time later, the Tickler is found dead in the Harrenhal courtyard, and Arya looks up to find Jaqen smiling at her as he places one finger upon his cheek. Two more to go.


  • I’m not sure if Dany’s former prostitute friend Doreah is, in fact, still a former prostitute. Dany pretty much suggests Doreah should go make the men of Quarth “happy” in exchange for local gossip. Shouldn’t one of the benefits of being part of Dany’s entourage include not having to be a prostitude anymore?
  • I wonder how much CGI money it cost to just make one of Dany’s dragons barbeque his own morsel of food. Hope no one was hoping that her dragons would, you know, actually do anything important this season.
  • In The TudorsNatalie Dormer played Anne Boleyn, a woman intent on marrying the King of England. In Game of Thrones, she plays Margaery Tyrell, a woman also willing to do anything to be queen. This seems like an oddly specific role to get type-casted into. Unfortunately for her, it probably is going to be a bit harder to pretend she’s in love with teenager Joffrey than Jonathan Rhys Meyers (though perhaps easier than pretending to be in love with Renly, who was obviously in love with her brother).
  • Not to question the supreme wisdom of the Red God, but how does death pay for life? The math behind this religious command (+1 for a live saved righted by the -1 of a death) suggests that it is inadvisable to go around saving lives because then you’ll just have to kill someone else to right the universe. Sorry, Red God, I’d rather worship Ned’s weird tree.

Missing in action: Joffrey, Robb, Sansa, Melisandre

Body count: 2 – Renly gets offed by a shadow creature, and the Tickler dies under equally mysterious circumstances at Harrenhal


Petyr: “Do you want to be a queen?”

Margaery: “No. I want to be the queen.”


Lancel: “I swear to you on my life.”

Tyrion: “I don’t care about your life.”

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: garden of bones

Previously on Game of Thrones: What is Dead May Never Die

If you want to be god of the battlefield, it really helps to have a big, scary uber-wolf on your side. Robb Stark and his direwolf Grey Wind launch another surprise attack on the Lannisters, who must have the worst lookouts in the history of Westeros, and win. After the fighting, Robb spots a woman treating the injured on the battlefield. He’s surprised to find that she is both of an appropriate age and attractivness to be considered a potential love interest for himself (and that she questions his authority and talks back to him…but mostly the attractiveness part).

For all the loyal fans who missed Joffrey’s charming antics, this had to be a welcomed episode. Highlights include Joffrey ordering Sansa, his future wife, to be stripped and hit in front of the entire court and forcing the two whores his uncle Tyrion purchased for him (don’t ask—it’s a weird family) to beat each other. I don’t know if psychology exists in Westeros, but this kid could single-handedly support and justify the entire profession.

Over at Renly’s camp, Petyr arrives to stir up trouble. He tries to figure Margaery out, well aware that her brother Loras is the king’s real lover, but the new queen uses some weird turn of phrases to either impress or confuse him (“My husband is my king, and my king is my husband”—what?). Petyr also finds time to profess his love for Catelyn, but she’s disgusted and rejects him.

Things are looking up for the other women of Westeros. After a distubring jaunt as a prisoner of the merry Harrenhal torturers, Arya and her friends are rescued by Tywin Lannister. They’re still prisoners, but now Arya gets to be Tywin’s cupbearer. Dany and her dying khalasar find their way to the walls of the utopian city of Quarth where, after a tense showdown, they are allowed in by a merchant named Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Meanwhile, Melisandre, otherwise known as she of the red dress and creepy accent, gives birth to a black smoke creature. Yeah, it makes as much sense as it sounds, but here’s betting it spells bad news for someone in next week’s episode!


  • Not to completely nerd out, but no potential girlfriends for Rob are supposed to show up yet, according to the books. On the other hand, I get it. There’s not a lot of romance going on in Westeros right now (if you’re the sort of person who excludes incestuous relationships), so I don’t blame the writers and producers for playing Cupid to spice up the constant plotting and battling.
  • Poor Petyr, he has awful timing. I actually really don’t like King Landing’s crafty brothel owner, and I admit I somewhat enjoyed seeing Catelyn reject him, but he has been in love with her for practically his entire life. You can’t blame a guy for trying.
  • I can’t be the only one who gave some serious thought to the Harrenhal torture scenes. What do a bucket, fire, and rats add up to? I’m assuming the rats are forced to chew through the victim’s chest to escape the heat, but who thinks of that stuff? Yuck. Whatever happened to just chopping off fingers?
  • I realize this is potentially impossible since Game of Thrones is already eating through a massive budget, but I would really like to see just one battle—that’s all I’m asking. Robb’s 4 for 4 for battlefield victories, and we’re still 0 for 4 for actually witnessing any of this epic action.

Missing in action: Theon, Bran, Cersei, Jon

Body count: too many to count – We get a battlefield strewn with dead bodies plus the two prisoners tortured to death at Harrenhal.


Roose Bolton: “The high road’s very pretty, but you’ll have a hard time marching your army down it.”

Tyrion: “I am not threatending the king, sir, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?

Dany: “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground. Turn us away, and we will burn you first.”

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: what is dead may never die

Previously on Game of Thrones: The Night Lands

Catelyn Stark arrives at Renly’s camp to represent her son’s interests in the coming war. Instead of an army on the march, she finds an army busy with a frivolous tournament. She’s not impressed, but Renly seems too busy with his romantic entanglements to care. His new wife Margaery is young, beautiful, and rich, but Renly is actually already involved with her brother Loras. Oops. Luckily, Margaery turns out to be a dutiful wife (redefining the definition of dutiful), and she casually mentions that as long as Renly gets her pregant she’s fine with anything. You know, because Renly is king now, and kings get to do what they want.

On the island of Pyke, everyone’s least favorite brother and sister duo (and that’s saying something considering Cersei and Jaime’s bid for the title) continue their sibling rivalry. Their father Balon reveals his master plan for attacking the north by sea, giving Yara the majority of the responsibility while Theon’s task largely involves overcoming the weak fishermen villages. Despite this, Theon decides to turn his back on the Starks and become a true ironborn of Pyke. This apparently involes kneeling on a beach, getting water poured on your face, and chanting.

Over at King’s Landing, Tyrion deceitfully and brilliantly concocts a scheme to find out which one of his trusted allies is actually loyal to Cersei. He secretly tells Grand Maester Pycelle, Varys, and Petyr three different versions of a plan to marry off Myrcella, Cersei’s only daugter. When Cersei, unable to contain her rage, confronts Tyrion, she unwittingly reveals her informant by blurting out the specifics of the plan. Tyrion finds his betrayer, Grand Maester Pycelle, in bed with a young woman (doubtless an employee of one of Petyr’s less savory establishments), and he orders the older man’s beard cut off before sending him straight to the prison cells.

Meanwhile, the younger Stark children continue to experience misfortune. A melancholy Bran hopes that his dreams of being a wolf are actually real, a welcome escape from his paralyzed body, but Maester Luwin rejects such hopes. However, Luwin also rejects the existence of dragons, so he might not be the best source. Sansa remains a forced guest of the Lannisters who killed her father. On the road to the Wall, Arya and her band of social misfits are attacked by King Joffrey’s men. Yoren and a few others are killed before the rest of the children are gathered up and captured.

  • I was kind of wondering why Natalie Dormer would join the cast since, in the books, Margaery Tyrell spends most of her time in the background of other people’s scenes. Mystery solved! Margaery’s character in the show has been bulked up to that of the most understanding member of a weird royal threesome, a role apparently worthy of the former Tudors star.
  • I liked how Yara admits to Theon that she let icky awkwardness unfold between them in the previous episode because she just wanted to know what kind of man he was. There wasn’t an easier way to do that?
  • Part of me missed Dany and her dragons, but then again, if including them would have just involved more sad scenes of starvation in the desert, I’m okay they were left out.
  • Thanks to multiple Season 2 trailer viewings, Varys’s speech to Tyrion seemed a bit empty without dramatic music in the background. It’s almost like I don’t expect voice-overs from trailers to actually show up in what they’re previewing.

Missing in action: Dany, Robb, Stannis, Melisandre, Joffrey

Body count: at least 3 — The bloodshed on the King’s Road was a little hectic, but we know at least 2 children were killed plus the (surprisingly) heroic Yoren.


Cersei: “You think a piece of paper will keep you safe. Ned Stark had a piece of paper.”

Catelyn: “They are the knights of summer, and winter is coming.”

Varys: “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: the night lands

Previously on Game of Thrones: Season 1 Revisited

Theon Greyjoy, the Stark’s ward, finally returns to his home on the island of Pyke in order to convince his father that they should join forces with Robb Stark. However, all does not go as planned. After getting to a very icky second base with his sister Yara (in Theon’s defense, he thought she was just some random girl), he discovers his father kind of hates him and has absolutely zero interest in helping Robb.


Meanwhile, the political players of the Game of Thrones make their opening moves. Stannis prepares for war by hiring pirate Salladhor Saan and his fleet of ships while over at King’s Landings Tyrion begins to assert himself as Hand of the King. He throws out the untrustworthy Janos Slynt and confronts Cersei about her son Joffrey’s uncontrolled reign as king.


The likeable female protagonists, all two of them, have a tougher time in this episode. Arya’s attempt to remain disguised as a boy is discovered by Gendry, who may or may not be one of Robert Baratheon’s remaining bastards. Dany and her khalasar are on the verge of death, and no hope of salvation appears imminent. Apparently, three dragons aren’t much help when it comes to finding allies, finding civilization, or simply finding water.


Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and his Night’s Watch brothers continue their stay at creepy Craster’s Keep. Sam befriends Gilly, Craster’s pregnant daughter/wife (it’s as messed up as it sounds), and unsuccessfully tries to convince Jon that the troubled girl should come with them. Curious about the depths of depravity that exist in Craster’s family, Jon investigates the sound of a crying baby, only to be knocked out unconscious by a very unhappy Craster


  • I’m finding Theon almost endearing in his pathetic misadventures. He’s delusional and a misogynistic jerk, but his hapless return to Pyke seemed worse than even he deserved.
  • I’m beginning to get used to the random scenes set in Littlefinger’s sleezy/upscale brothel. While they add virtually nothing to the plot, I’ve finally realized their crucial role in meeting HBO’s naked quota, which I just made up but am fairly certain really exists.
  • I kind of liked seeing Cersei fall apart. Being mother of Joffrey, the spawn of Satan, seems to finally be taking its toll on her.
  • The sooner the Night’s Watch leaves Craster the better. At this point, I very much prefer nightmare zombie men to Craster’s disgusting definition of a family.

Missing in action: Renly, Catelyn, Robb, Sansa, Bran, and Joffrey (but honestly, who missed this kid?)

Body count: 1 – Poor Rakharo. Only his head returns to Dany after a clearly unsuccessful scouting venture.


Tyrion: “I’m not questioning your loyalty, Lord Janos. I’m denying its existence.”

Varys: “Storms come and go. The big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.”

Theon: “Try smiling with your lips closed.”

Cersei: “This is what ruling is: lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out by the root one-by-one before they strangle you in your sleep.”


Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones: season one revisited

Last year, Game of Thrones found a happy home for itself somewhere between Middle Earth and a political cesspool of deceit and immorality. The HBO fantasy extravaganza has a lot in common with the world inhabited by hobbits and wizards — the weapons, the clothes, the brooding looks of men who “sense something” on the horizon — but the similarities are only superficial. 

Game of Thrones is more driven by character, and in turn, also by the vices of those characters. While Tolkien’s fantasy epic centered upon the dynamic of unlimited power that a ring introduced to a cast of dwarves, humans, and elves, Game of Thrones is about the corrupting force of basic human desires. Of course, this is all set in Westeros, a vaguely magical land of winter zombies and dragons, but that just makes it more fun. If you wanted to watch normal people behaving badly in normal settings, you could watch the news.


Season 1 of Game of Thrones primarily focused on the increasingly poor fortunes of the Stark family. Headed by the honorable Ned (played by Sean Bean, who seemed to enjoy his time riding horses and swinging a sword as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings enough to sign up for this gig), the Stark family’s two daughters, three sons, one bastard, and one ward pretty much all embark on story arcs that spiral down to a grim conclusion. The big moment from Season 1? Ned’s head gets chopped off. Good-bye, main character. But it wasn’t all death and destruction because in Game of Thrones you always have someone new to root for. If you liked Ned, why not switch allegiances to Dany, the exiled princess who just recently acquired a trio of dragons? Or Tyrion, the dwarf lord who uses his wit and intelligence to navigate a family and a world that despise him?


And now Season 2 is here! The much-anticipated premiere set the stage for the season’s epic showdown of wannabe kings. Now that King Robert is dead, the throne is up for grabs. There are no less than six contenders (that we take seriously): Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, Daenerys Targaryen, and Mance Rayder. None of them are what you would call cooperative, and the ensuing mix of clashing personalities and medieval smear campaigns promise an explosive and entertaining year from our friends in Westeros.


Things to look forward to this season:

  • Tyrion as Hand of the King (a job that is sort of like being Vice-President of Westeros except that you actually have power).
  • The creepy white walkers that lurk behind the Wall. This season, Jon Snow and his Night Watch brothers are venturing past the safety of Castle Black to take the fight to the zombie-like creatures.
  • Arya Stark disguised as a boy. The pluckiest Stark barely escaped capture last season, and now she’s headed to the Wall with a ragtag bunch of orphans and criminals.
  • Dragons!

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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